Suns-Spurs Game 1 notes/observations
During game one of the Phoenix-San Antonio series yesterday, I decided to take notes on the game. Some random stuff, some observations. Here’s what I “saw”:
Everybody’s talking about the contrasting styles of Phoenix and San Antonio, but the most ignored aspect of this series could be its most crucial: Can Phoenix play enough defense when they go through the inevitable playoff scoring drought to stay close and can the Spurs’ offense be efficient and methodical enough to keep this from turning into a run-n-gun affair? We’ll see.
Early match-ups: Michael Finley playing Steve Nash and Shawn Marion playing Tony Parker. Bet SA’s saving Bruce Bowen for Nash later in the second half.
I didn’t know statistically, Amare Stoudamire fouls that much. He’s second to Andris Biedrins of Golden State. With his athleticism, if he played position defense, he could be phenomenal. But somehow, I don’t reckon Mike D’Antoni stresses the other side of the ball. Both Nash and TP2.com are playing well. But Parker’s getting easy jumpers. They’re playing well off him and his perimeter shooting has improved through the years. He’ll have to continuously prove it in this seven-gamer.
Announcers question validity of SA’s persona of being boring and Phoenix’s persona of not playing defense. But when D’Antoni goes on “PTI” and says he doesn’t care about defense at all and whose mantra is shooting in seven seconds or less, it’s no wonder how Phoenix’s rep is well-earned.
Bowen steps out of bounds. That call has been made more this year in the postseason than I could ever remember. Players gotta learn to stay away from that sideline.
19-18 2:45 in the first. This is a Spurs’ tempo. Jacque Vaughn makes Raja Bell look good by running straight into him.
Big Shot Rob sighting. Late shot clock jumper leaning to his right. Not a good sign
With all the hoopla surrounding Parker, Ginobili and TD, Finley has turned back the clock to his one-man show Dallas days. He’s playing really well and will get a myriad of open shots.
Mark Jackson on Leandro Barbosa’s spin-o-rama: How do you defend that? Did anyone see that he traveled? Maybe it was my non-HD TV.
Pretty pass from Boris Diaw to Barbosa backdoor. Diaw has more than a nice skill set; Somehow he’s struggled this season to find his place this season.
Big Shot Rob defensive appearance. Came outta nowhere to pin Barbosa’s lay-up to the glass. He’s done that Tayshaun Prince thing twice this postseason. Anybody think of putting this cat in moth balls until April?
TP walks down the lane. Amazing how rare it is to block his shot when he gets to the paint
ABC just did a highlight of the Suns’ defensive sequences during this game. Funny how Nash, Mr. MVP, wasn’t in any of them. Probably won’t ever be.
Kurt Thomas will be big during this series. This is why he’s here. Good strip on TD, lay-up for Leandro. Suns trying to force tempo, getting out running.
Betcha no one remembers when Thomas led the NCAA in scoring and rebounding during his days at Texas Christian in the mid-90’s. Yes, that Kurt Thomas.
We interrupt this all-important playoff game for this East-Coast bias update. Roger Clemens will play for the New York Yankees. That is all.
What does names like Parker, Ginobili, Diaw, Barbosa and Nash equal? A David Stern wet dream of international players, you figure out the rest. Tim Duncan? Boring black guy, he doesn’t count with what you were supposed to read between the lines on. Eliminates the pain of Dirk not making to the Finals. But gets rid of Cuban. Even trade for D. Stern.
Suns up 41-37 5:00 left. Ginobili goes head down and gets a foul called on Phoenix. Patented during the 2005 NBA Finals.
TD gets easy dunk and runner through the lane, plus the harm. If Amare gambles position-wise, TD will abuse him, Joe Jackson style.
TP2 steps back again, net. Nash responds with one of his own. Marion gets easy lay after TP’s TO. Pop calls time, he’s gonna let Parker have it.
50-44 1:21. Amare picks up foul number three. Replay shows it was TD if anybody. Big call there.
Pretty spin from Diaw down the lane. Man, D’Antoni gets a lot of latitude with the refs. If that was Rasheed Wallace, can you say “ejection?”
Under a minute left, crowd going wild, what happens? Big Shot Rob three. What, you didn’t see it coming? TP2 goes back down the lane and makes it a one-point affair.
Two-point game at the half. Spurs right where they want to be. So are the Suns, since they feel scoring 100 is the key to winning. We’ll see.
Mark Jackson: What doesn’t Steve Nash do? Answer: Play defense
Francisco Elson. 18-footer? If he hits that with consistency, trouble. Follows it up with good D on Amare.
Love fest for Elson ends. Silly turnover.
Finley, again. Three-point Spurs lead. Stoudamire, so far, can’t conjure up the play of the ’05 western finals, where he put up 37 per. TD playing good D thus far.
TD goes up and under for easy deuce. Expect to see Kurt Thomas soon.
Lefty lay for Nash past Horry. Respect due on that. TP follows with 20-footer. Spurs quietly up by 8.
6:24 left in the third. When is Ginobili going to make a positive contribution in this game?
Duncan and the Spurs are getting easy shots. Guess that answer to the first question is probably the reason for a 73-66 lead.
Early difference between contender and pretender: Spurs take full advantage of mismatches, Suns fail to so far. For Suns to advance, that must change. In the words of Kobe Bryant in his postgame press conference after
L.A. was eliminated, “Now!”
Bell, two. Barbosa, two. Two-point game. You almost forget how quick they can score.
Big Shot Rob blocks shot at buzzer. Prelude to the fourth.
TP2 goes down the lane with acrobatic move. Why is Marion guarding him?
Marion with ugly shot from the corner. Followed by Marion going to the bucket.
Phoenix leads now.
Finley, playing like he wants a ring. 87-86 Spurs. Spurs in a slump. Finley, one time for your mind. Three-ball, 90-88.
After good position D, Amare gives up easy dunk to Duncan. On other end, Amare spinning in lane for two.
Chant of defense, Suns up one, what happens? Big Shot Rob makes early fourth quarter appearance.
Nash hits another leaner, followed by the obligatory compliment from announcers. He’s good, he’s damn good, ok? We get that, but he’s not in the pantheon of all-time greats. Reserve all compliments until he gets a ring. Hell, let him play in the Finals first.
Parker, another 20-footer. 30 for the Frenchman. Phoenix will have to play him better.
Parker goes down after the steal and the foul. Hard to see at first/second glance. This could be huge if he can’t finish. Good show of sportsmanship by both. That makes me sick. (joking)
A Jalen Rose sighting on the bench. Fab-Fiver for life. Hard foul on Duncan. Ah, Playoff ball at its best.
Duncan makes both freebees.
Nash, three-ball. Tie game. Timmy spin to baseline, money. Nash rims out a three. PARKER AGAIN. He owns Phoenix.
Parker, charge. Bell in restricted area. Questionable call. Nash can’t come back in the game yet. Barbosa, off with the three. Amare, off close. Suns look flustered. Bad Foul Ginobili off at the line again.
Amare, to the cup, off. The re-up short, but a whistle. Is Nash coming back? Amare, hits both free throws.
Barbosa, another bad foul or a great acting job by Mr. Eva. Either way, freebee plus ball. Nash puts on jersey but Suns don’t stop clock.
Spurs will escape after Amare missed another in a long line of close misses. Finley makes one of two. Barbosa, off again and once again, the Spurs start it off by winning on the road.
What about that 100-point quota? Better raise it. 110-106. Timmy and TP, 1. Stevie and Amare, 0.